Pirelli is to introduce a new tire at this year’s Rally Sweden: the Sottozero Ice 1.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Sottozero Ice 1 benefits from a revised design on the external part of the tread, which makes the blocks stronger and helps to retain all of the 384 embedded, tungsten tipped studs. The total number of studs is the same as last year, as is their seven-millimetre protrusion.A patented process used by Pirelli fixes the studs in place during vulcanisation to help minimise the potential of studs being ripped from the tire when stage conditions are mixed.
The tire will be available in 205/65-15 size, and Pirelli will be equipping one WRC1 car from the top class, driven by Lorenzo Bertelli (above), together with a number of the leading WRC2 runners.
The Rally Sweden is scheduled to get underway from the city of Karlstad on Thursday evening (Feb 11), with the service park also located in the harbour area of the city throughout all three days, in a new move for this year. However, warm temperatures in the region are casting doubt over whether the event will actually go ahead, with concerns that the event’s recce could be detrimental to the gravel beneath the snow.
A further cold snap is expected whilst the event is in progress, and as such all possibilities are being explored to ensure the season’s sole snow event remains part of the 2016 calendar. A decision is expected to be announced later today (Feb 8).
“We’ve used our experience to further evolve the Sottozero Ice, and the result is the new and improved Sottozero Ice 1,” explained Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager. “In particular, this has made an important step forwards when it comes to stud retention by strengthening the tread blocks – and with recent temperatures in Sweden having been on the warm side, this aspect is set to become even more crucial this year. We’re confident that we have a product that is able to cope well with a wide variety of conditions, so we’re looking forward to giving our drivers the opportunity to fight with the factory-backed cars, as was the case in WRC2 at the opening round in Monte Carlo.”